UNEP Report Showcases Women’s Role in Management of Coastal and Marine Environments
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The report states that contributions of women have historically been underestimated and even “routinely ignored” in coastal and marine management, policy and research.

The report shares practical experiences, lessons learned and recommendations from four case studies that have focused on specific needs of women and other “marginalized groups” in coastal and marine management.

12 March 2019: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a report that analyzes the gendered nature of the conservation, management and use of coastal and marine environments and shares good practices for elevating women’s roles in coastal and marine management. The report is one of several publications on the conservation and sustainable use of marine environments released by UNEP in conjunction with the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).

The report titled, ‘Gender Mainstreaming in the Management of the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems,’ states that the contributions of women have historically been underestimated and even “routinely ignored” in coastal and marine management, policy and research. UNEP Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch coordinator, Lisa Svensson, emphasized, that “we have largely been gender-blind in the management of our marine and coastal areas.” There is now increasing recognition that sustainable and integrated marine and coastal ecosystem management “requires gender sensitive and gender responsive planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.” The 2017 UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14 (UN Ocean Conference) highlighted the critical role of women in implementing SDG 14 (life below water) in its Call for Action.

The report aims to share practical experiences, lessons learned and recommendations from initiatives and projects that have focused on specific needs of women and other “marginalized groups” to support policymakers, development practitioners and environmental managers in mainstreaming gender in coastal and marine management. The featured case studies are: coastal women at the forefront of climate action in Odisha, India; women’s activism around plastic pollution in Yucatán, Mexico; gender mainstreaming for reducing poverty in coastal Philippines; and a good practice example on advocacy for gender-inclusive management and research.

Women’s contributions in coastal and marine management, policy and research have historically been underestimated.

In Yucatán, for example, women-led grassroots organizations play a key role in local waste management and plastics recycling. Their efforts have increased community awareness on linkages among solid waste management, empowerment, health and well-being. A key enabling factor in this case was community members’ recognition of local women’s abilities and contributions in coastal resource management, as well as recognition from local, state and national agencies, which helped to consolidate women’s legitimacy and power as important stakeholders in coastal solid waste management and sustainable urban planning, enabling women to scale up their efforts to cover a wider coastal area.

The report recommends building inclusive processes and designing a gender mainstreaming strategy for policies and projects through the use of gender-disaggregated data and context-specific preparation, including baseline studies and stakeholder mapping. The Philippines case study, for instance, analyzes gender specific objectives and indicators in the project design document, and outlines how to measure and monitor whether coastal resource management was gender responsive.

The report further recommends, inter alia: applying an empowerment approach for situational analysis; promoting multi-stakeholder consultations during project formulation and encouraging collaboration among key stakeholders; and reviewing past gender interventions in a region or country to understand key obstacles and build on existing resources, tools and knowledge networks context. The report underscores the role of grassroots women’s groups in introducing integrated coastal management and sustainable development to their communities in a relevant and meaningful way.

UNEA-4 is convening in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11-15 March 2019. [Publication: Gender Mainstreaming in the Management of the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems] [UNEP Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNEP Report on Advancing SDG Indicator 14.1.1] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNEP Report on Plastics in Shallow Water Coral Reefs] [SDG Knowledge Hub Coverage of UNEA-4] [IISD RS coverage of OECPR and UNEA]


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